Sin is an action that requires forgiveness. Obviously, we cannot forgive someone if he or she believes his or her action is not sinful. Only when a person admits their sin can we forgive. This is what Jesus is saying here. People will sin against us and we have to tell them that they sinned against us, yet if they do not believe that they are a sinner, is it possible to forgive? Surely, we can forgive them because we know that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Yet, we will distance ourselves from them as to not become subject of that sin again. Therefore, is it necessary to tell someone that they DID sin against us less they believe they did not sin?
Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king,
Who is the king in this story? God…which would take account of his servants….Who are the servants? We are..
Matthew 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
There are consequences to sin. Notice that the king has the authority to enact the punishment for sin of the servant.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
A repentant person is someone who admits his or her sin and is willing to change so that they would not wish to do the same sin ever again. God is merciful and compassionate for the repentant sinner, but He will not tolerate those who say they do not sin. There is forgiveness and restoration for the repentant person, but woe to you who does not have mercy on the repentant sinner as the king had mercy on you….
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
We must have mercy and forgiveness for those who seek mercy and forgiveness. We cannot say or know if a person is truly repentant unless they admit that they sinned against us. However, nowhere is there a limit to forgiveness if a person comes to you seven times repenting of the same sin. God calls us to forgive as Christ forgave us, seventy times seven…Our actions of love and humility will only serve to please the Lord who surely will have the final say on the Day of Judgment. Only God knows the heart condition of the individual.The Lord gives us clear passages to handle those who have sinned against us. He also gives us the correct action to those who do not repent. This is a loving response to bring the person to humility.
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Once a person gets to the point that they no longer remain in fellowship with other believers because these refuse to repent, they are in God’s hands.
Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Do we neglect them? No, we need to love them as we love any other heathen. We live out the Gospel and point them to a Gospel that is only effective for those who know they are sinners in need of a Savior. The Gospel is an eternal remedy for sin and death. We need to be ready that when the heathen's heart of stone breaks and they repent of their sin. We need to be ready when the Lord deals with them and brings them to the end of the rope. We will be ready to forgive the sinner that repents, just as Christ forgave us.That is the hope we have in Christ. Our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Mighty King.
In Christ’s love,